One good piece of advice I learned was; Keep a journal. Carry it with you, either at all times or whenever convenient. Write down all your ideas in it. I mean all of them. It gets your brain flowing, and who knows, among the mess you may even find something you like!
Sometimes (often) you may not feel like writing. Or you may just be afraid that what you write won’t be any good. Try this—sit down and make yourself write whatever comes into your head for 15 minutes. Chances are, within that time, you will write something that you like. And that’s exacty what you’re looking for! The things that rise above the rest, the shiny things.
If you assume you are going to revise what you write, even before you sit down to write in the first place, it will free you from perfectionism. You’ll be able to let whatever needs to come out, come out, knowing that you can fix it later if needed.
One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I’ll have lost nothing—writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off. —Lawrence Block
A novel is a lot like mold. Mold doesn’t just appear all of a sudden on those strawberries you meant to eat but didn’t. It starts as spores that drift through the air, seeking the right combination of temperature and light and dampness. It settles in, speck by speck, and slowly grows into something more.
Okay, I know, gross (note to self: throw out those old strawberries). But I like the metaphor because that’s often how stories start: you make space in your day and mind to dream, and the ideas drift down, spore by spore. After many days and weeks (and sometimes months!) they grow into characters and scenes you can shape into an outline.
NaNoWriMo is coming up in November, so this September, we want to help you grow your mold—er, novel—with our second ever month-long #InstaWrimo challenge. We designed a month of Instagram prompts to get you thinking about characters, setting, and story. All you need to join in is an Instagram account.
Use the 30 photo prompts listed in the graphic above to start thinking about your novel. We’ll post the full challenge prompt on Instagram, but it will also be available in this post if you need to refer back to it.
These prompts are just suggestions—you don’t have to be literal, though if you want to take these prompts very literally, that can result in some fun pictures, too. You can post a photo for each of the prompts, or choose just a few. You can post one every day, or all at once. There aren’t any strict rules—the most important part is having fun!
Make sure to tag any posts with the #InstaWrimo hashtag so we can find them. We’ll pick photos from the challenge to feature on our own Instagram account throughout the month. Follow the hashtag to see what our awesome community is up to, and to get inspired.
Use your imagination, get creative, and get ready to write!